Game Over? The Curse of the Video Game Movie!

And I think here is a good place to note an underlying theme not only for Uwe Boll movies but nearly all video game adaptations so far. Most video game companies seem keen to just license out their brand and never really have any input or creative control of their movies. This makes some sense since people in the gaming industry don’t know how to make movies, but at the same time they should have someone on-board to make sure right is done by their properties. Bad cross-media projects can be just a damaging to your brand as terrible video games.

ratchetclank_Vs_AngryBirdsIf you want a more recent example of this,look no further than last month’s Ratchet and Clank movie. A video game franchise in which Sony Computer Entertainment is heavily invested. SCE is part of Sony which has a dedicated movie division…. And they shelled out the rights of the film to a low-budget animation studio. There was some involvement from Insomniac, but the fact that Sony didn’t bring that in-house speaks volumes to how important the property is to them. And just to complete the ironic picture, Sony Pictures was responsible for the recently released Angry Birds movie: A mobile game brand they have no real investment in!

By the time we get to Prince of Persia, it had been more than 15 years since the release of the first video game movie. In that 15 years, many fans complained that Hollywood never really put any money behind these adaptations. For the most part this is true.Of the movies released in that time-frame, only 2 of them had a budget over 100 million. The original Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. The latter is tough to count though since it was Squaresoft, at the time, dropping all the money for production.

So all eyes were fixated on Prince of Persia by the time of release. Not only would it have money thrown behind it (to this day, it still remains the most expensive video game movie), but it had the muscle of the Disney-marketing machine behind it.Prince of Persia The Sands of Time

Disney at the time was looking to succeed the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (at one point, it was an honest-to-goodness trilogy!), Disney teamed up with Ubisoft to bring the Prince of Persia to the big-screen. Money? No problem with a reported budget somewhere around 200 million dollars. Big name stars? Easy! Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina and Gemma Arterton. They got Mike Newell to direct coming off his tenure with the Harry Potter franchise. The stars were aligned and the movie released… and for some reason critics didn’t go for it. And while fans supported it, it wasn’t a smash-hit at the box-office and ultimately forgettable.

Prince of Persia has been the peak of video game adaptions. Since its release, video game movies have either stuck to known quantities such as sequels to Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Or attempts to draw in other popular genres like the Fast and the Furious-inspired, Need for Speed, and an attempted reboot of the Hitman franchise.

Page 3: The Present Meets the Future->

Earl Rufus

The owner of this little chunk of the internet. Enjoys having a good time and being rather snarky!

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